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Co-op announces funding to get Canadians active, protect environment

Access to outdoor activity and support for environmental conservation in Canada took another step forward recently as Mountain Equipment Co-op invests $730,000 in 76 community projects in 9 provinces.

Vancouver – Access to outdoor activity and support for environmental conservation in Canada took another step forward recently as Mountain Equipment Co-opâ„¢ (MEC) announced the latest results of its community grants program. In all, the member-owned retailer invested more than $730,000 for 76 community-based projects in 9 provinces.

“MEC member purchases make our grants program possible, and none of the good work we support would be possible without their participation,” said CEO David Labistour. “MEC grants are a long-running and integral part of how, collectively, our members help to support Canada’s outdoor community.”

MEC has invested over $17 million in environmental conservation and outdoor recreation projects across Canada since 1987, when its grants program started. Twice each year, MEC members, a director from the co-op’s board and staff are involved in selecting projects to receive support.

“There are so many inspiring initiatives happening right now in Canada to help people get active in the outdoors and protect our precious natural places,” said MEC community program manager Laurie Edward. “MEC is proud to support those efforts by providing one per cent of all our sales to great community projects.”

As a member of 1% for the Planet, MEC commits to investing one per cent of total sales every year to environmental initiatives. This commitment will see MEC contribute over $2.6 million in 2010 alone. 1% for the Planet provides third-party verification of each of its member company’s commitments.

The grants range in dollar value from $1,200 to $50,000. Some highlights include:
•$1,695 in canoeing equipment to the Simon Fraser University Outdoor Club.
•$11,940 to the Alberta Wilderness Association for its Newcomers to Wild Spaces project, which aims to introduce immigrants to wilderness and foster an outdoor ethic in them.
•$15,000 to Ottawa Riverkeeper for a public awareness and education campaign – Our River is Not a Dumping Ground – about dumping untreated sewage into the Ottawa River.
•$50,000 land acquisition grant toward the Nature Conservancy’s purchase of Darkwoods, an ecologically rich wilderness in BC’s Selkirk mountain range.

About MEC

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) is Canada’s leading retailer of outdoor clothing, gear and services for self-propelled activities like hiking, cycling and paddlesports. Established in 1971, MEC operates 13 destination stores in central locations across Canada. MEC has more than 3 million members throughout Canada and around the world. Widely recognized for its commitment to sustainability, MEC is a member of One Percent for The Planet and supports various community-based outdoor and environmental initiatives through its grants program. Anyone can join MEC and become part-owner in the Co-op, by purchasing a $5 lifetime individual membership. Members are entitled to buy gear and to vote on how MEC is governed. More information about MEC’s community grants program is available at